International Exchange

The theme of this essay was “International Exchange”. The first thought that popped into my head was the memory of my first 10 years of life in Knoxville, Tennessee. I was born in Mie, Japan, and before I even knew who I was, I was on a plane that took me to a place I didn’t know, which would be my home for the next decade. I grew up in Knoxville, knowing that the blood running through me was pure Japanese, but somewhere in my heart, I wanted to live as an American girl.

I knew almost nothing about my home country, the country I was born in. My parents knew that someday, I would return to Japan, and I would need more Japanese skills, and sent me to a Japanese weekend school to learn Japanese, but there I made American friends and I spoke English 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I wanted to be American; but I didn’t hate every part of being Japanese. I loved it when everyone gathered around my desk to watch me fold a crane out of paper origami. Everyone in school would want one, and every break I would fold something new.

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Kids wanted their names written in Japanese, and I would write it for them. I liked the fact that my American friends liked me being Japanese. Everyday I would breathe fresh American air. The American atmosphere was so calming and relaxing to me. I was taught to be American and Japanese at the same time, and I loved every moment of my life. It was awesome to be a Japanese girl who grew up in America, just like any other American.

On the outside, I was Japanese. However, the inside part of me was different. The ?fact that I was Japanese, although all my life so far was spent in America, bothered me. I knew that I wasn’t some everyday girl who had a normal life. I just concentrated on living my life as an American.

America was showing me America, and I was showing America Japan. Of course, I’m not that big of a person, I was only a child, but I felt like I was changing the world. I lived in a perfect city. I liked my sunny days in Knoxville. I had no idea about the thunder storm that was silently creeping up behind me. The news that changed the sky came into my ears on a Sunday.

Our family was returning to Japan. I was horrified. I never thought that I was going to return to Japan. Nobody ever told me about moving back. I thought that America was my home forever.

Confusion circled my head and left me in the middle of a dark storm during my last months in Knoxville. My mind was white as we packed our things and the moving company drove away with my things. My mom told me that the boxes would be shipped to Japan, and that we would beat them there. I didn’t care about my things. I didn’t care if we got to Japan before the boxes of my American life. I wanted to spend the rest of my life the way everyone around me would.

I wanted to continue on to the local middle school, high school, and university. But life isn’t perfect. I moved back to Japan. I thought that the move would destroy my life. When my right foot left the ground of America as I stepped into the plane, I promised I would tell the world about the beauty of this land.

5 years have passed since I have returned to my home country. I had difficulties melting into the Japanese culture, but I now feel relaxed, and I am proud to be a Japanese citizen. I have two sites of view. I can see the world through my American side, and also my Japanese side. I noticed that knowing two languages and two cultures is treasure. It is convenient, and at the same time I think it made me wiser.

Knowing 2 languages, knowing two worlds. I am a small bridge that connects two different places. If there are many more small bridges like me, the world will be one whole, connected by many bridges. I met America at a young age. When I met America, I met a foreign language. When I met a foreign language, I promised to use my ability fully to make the world a better place.

In the future, I would like to work at a place where I can use my English knowledge to help people around the world. For example, translation. You have to know two languages and two cultures to capture the writer’s heart and translate the meaning and the message of the story. I always thought it would be neat to know about a script before it was published. The more languages that the script is translated to, the more people it will reach. If I become a translator, I will make sure that I do my best, and so that everyone who reads my words will understand them as if the author wrote it himself/herself.

Another job I dreamed of is to become an English teacher. I feel gifted to know English, and I would like to share the wonder of English with many other people. I want to teach people who don’t know English. Maybe somewhere out in the world, somebody is waiting for a book to be translated by me, or there is a school out in the world that is in lack of an English teacher. I have a whole life waiting in front of me.

I have lots of possibilities. Out of all of the lives in the world, God chose to send me to America and taught me how to live my life. I think he is calling me to use my strength. I think I can hear somebody in need of me.